Schoolship offers many students their first boating experience

Great Lakes Education Program now registering classrooms in southeast Michigan to join the fun.

Thousands of students in southeast Michigan have participated in the Great Lakes Education Program. Registration for 2017 is now open. Photo: Steve Stewart | Michigan Sea Grant

Thousands of students in southeast Michigan have participated in the Great Lakes Education Program. Registration for 2017 is now open. Photo: Steve Stewart | Michigan Sea Grant

If you are a teacher in southeast Michigan and want to introduce your students to the Great Lakes, what should you do? Participating in the Great Lakes Education Program, which begins its 27th year of classroom and vessel-based education in April, is a sure way to accomplish your goal.

If you value the effectiveness of combining classroom and out-of-classroom learning, you’ll want to be a part of this award-winning program. If you appreciate how important the Great Lakes are to all of us, and that we share a common ownership of and stewardship responsibility for the lakes, you can be sure this program will make a big impact on students.

Teachers who have already participated report that it does an excellent job of helping them meet Michigan’s Grade Level Content Expectations, Michigan K-12 Science Standards, and the regional Great Lakes Literacy principles, and that 95 percent of their students felt more knowledgeable about Great Lakes science after participating.

Nearly 110,000 students and adults have learned more about the Great Lakes since 1991 by participating in the Great Lakes Education Program. Designed though a collaboration involving Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the program provides students, their teachers and adult chaperones with an unforgettable on-the-water learning experience. With locations on both Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie, it is easy for schools throughout southeast Michigan to participate.

Registration is now open for the spring 2017 Great Lakes Education Program season, which runs from mid-April through mid-June. For more complete information on the program, the spring season calendar, our locations, cost, and how to register, simply go to the Great Lakes Education Program website. We look forward to having you join us in 2017 as we continue our education focusing on the Great Lakes.

Seminar: Fish Spawning Reef Planning Techniques

Event Date: 5/15/2017


This seminar will be held in conjunction with the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) 2017 conference in Detroit. You do not need to register for IAGLR to participate.

A number of factors, including construction of shipping channels, land use changes and dams, have degraded rocky fish spawning habitat or made it inaccessible to native, migratory fish. One method for compensating for spawning habitat losses is to construct fish spawning reefs, essentially beds of loose rock placed on the river bottom that provide adequate protection and flow through the rocks for egg incubation. Though simple in concept, reef projects need to be carefully sited and designed to avoid accumulating sediment, attract desired fish and support young fish through the critical early life stages.

This team- taught seminar will share techniques developed through eight reef projects established in the St. Clair and Detroit River System over the past fifteen years. Specific topics will include: site assessment and selection, hydrodynamics and sedimentation concerns, reef design and construction strategies and monitoring of early life stages of fish. In the afternoon, participants will have a choice of two activities, either exploring monitoring equipment or discussing permitting, funding and team coordination issues with agency leaders. This interactive seminar is open to all types of restoration practitioners, including professional engineers, project managers, researchers and anyone hoping to champion, design or monitor a constructed spawning reef in Great Lakes nearshore areas, connecting channels or larger rivers.

Date: Monday, May 15, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: IAGLR’s Great Lakes Research Conference, Cobo Center Room 258, 1 Washington Blvd, Detroit, Michigan
Continuing Education: Seminar participants will receive a certificate showing they completed 7 hours of continuing education suitable for professional license renewals.
Cost: $75 for professionals, $30 for students 
Final registration deadline: 5:00 p.m., May 5, 2017
Cancellation: Registrants who cancel on or before April 24 will receive full refunds. No refunds will be issued for cancellations after May 5.

For professionals ($75):

For students ($30):

For questions, contact:
Lynn Vaccaro
University of Michigan Water Center
(734) 763-0056

SCDRS Annual Meeting

Event Date: 3/2/2017

“Charting the Course for Action in the St. Clair-Detroit River System”

Thursday March 2, 2017

Weber’s Inn, Ann Arbor, Michigan

9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST, Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.

On behalf of the St. Clair – Detroit River System (SCDRS) Initiative Steering Committee, I would like to invite you to join us at the 2017 Annual Meeting. The week of January 30th, which will include a draft agenda, registration information, the briefing book form and instructions, hotel information, and other relevant materials for your consideration and review before the Annual Meeting.

Agenda topics include:

  • Steering, Science & Monitoring, and Communications Committee updates
  • Priority Objectives, Indicators Status Update & Discussion on Fisheries, Habitat, AIS, Areas of Concern, Contaminants, and Nutrients

We are hoping to have participation from a variety of organizations and interests working in the SCDRS to continue to help inform our collective path moving forward. Registration will be limited to 50 attendees, so please plan to register early.

If your organization is interested in being a sponsor of the workshop, please contact Mary Bohling at

For more information on the SCDRS Initiative, see the website at:

Contact: Michelle Selzer
SCDRS Initiative Communications Subcommittee
Lake Erie Coordinator
Michigan Office of the Great Lakes
(517) 284-5050


Detroit museum highlights importance of maritime history in Michigan

Among collections are biographies of more than 20,000 ships that have sailed on Great Lakes.

An anchor from the Edmund Fitzgerald sits on the museum lawn.

An anchor from the Edmund Fitzgerald sits on the museum lawn. Photo: Steve Stewart | Michigan Sea Grant

This is the first in a series of articles focusing on Great Lakes maritime heritage. Maritime heritage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “preserves and protects valuable historical, cultural, and archaeological resources within our coastal, marine, and Great Lakes environments.”  The National Park Service has an active Maritime Heritage Program that “works to advance awareness and understanding of the role of maritime affairs in the history of the United States.” As the Great Lakes State, Michigan is richly blessed with maritime heritage resources, and this series will explore many of them.

In 1949, the J. T. Wing, a Great Lakes lumber schooner at the end of its sailing life – and the last commercial sailing ship on the Great Lake – was donated to the City of Detroit Historical Commission for use as a museum ship. The Wing was landlocked on Belle Isle and became a popular attraction.

When the Wing was declared unsafe for visitors in 1956, the Dossin family provided a gift that resulted in construction of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on the same site. The museum officially opened on July 24, 1960.

The Dossin was an instant hit, attracting over 100,000 visitors in its first 5 months. In addition to a gallery of model ships and a submarine periscope, the museum installed the Gold Cup hydroplane race boat Miss Pepsi, the incredible Gothic Room from the overnight passenger steamer City of Detroit III, and the Deroy Lecture Hall. A group of supporters formed the Great Lakes Maritime Institute and began publishing Telescope magazine as well as sponsoring activities and educational events at the museum.

In 1975, the dramatic sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior focused worldwide attention on the Great Lakes. A major part of the story involved the steamer William Clay Ford which headed out into the storm in an attempt to find the doomed Fitzgerald.

When the Ford was decommissioned in the 1990s, the Dossin acquired the pilot house of the ship and attached it to the river-facing side of the museum. Today it is possible to stand in the pilot house, turn the ship’s wheel and experience what it’s like to be on a Great Lakes freighter.The Dossin museum building seen from outside.

In 2006, the Dossin museum came under the auspices of the Detroit Historical Society and a new era commenced. The museum’s vast collection includes biographical information on more than 20,000 ships that have sailed the lakes, 100,000 photographs and videos, thousands of shipbuilders’ blueprints and hundreds of maritime paintings and artifacts encompassing more than 300 years of Great Lakes history. The maritime holdings gathered at the Dossin are recognized worldwide for their value to researchers.

Events that the Dossin hosts in co-sponsorship with the Great Lakes Maritime Institute include the annual Lost Mariners Remembrance in November, the Fair Winds Fall Dinner, the Holiday Marine Mart and the Dossin Invitation high school rowing regatta in the spring.

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is, thanks to the success of the Detroit Historical Society’s Fast Forward fundraising campaign, open Wednesdays through Sundays and admission is free.

Another way to learn about our maritime heritage resources is by coming aboard for some of the Summer Discovery Cruises offered on both Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie each year. Sponsored by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant, and the Huron-Clinton Metroparks, Summer Discovery Cruises are a fun way to learn about our many historical, cultural, and natural Great Lakes resources.

Sea Grant 50th Anniversary: Celebrating the work of our Extension Educators

Mary Bohling’s passion for paddling has helped bring water trails to Detroit.

In 2016, the National Sea Grant College Program celebrates 50 years of putting science to work for America’s coastal communities.

Our MSU Extension educators live and work in coastal communities around Michigan. We celebrate their hard work and take this opportunity to introduce each of them during this anniversary year.

Mary Bohling is located in Southgate, Michigan, and serves Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Wayne counties. She has been an extension educator for 10 years. Mary earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, environmental studies and anthropology and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Michigan.

Mary is passionate about paddling and peddling (kayaks and bikes, that is). She works with coastal communities, nonprofit groups and businesses in a four-county district along the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River and western Lake Erie applying science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes issues, including economic development, habitat restoration, coastal tourism initiatives, and greenway/water trail development.

In addition, Mary is the chair of the Michigan Statewide Public Advisory Council, chair of the Michigan Trails Advisory Council Non-Motorized Advisory Workgroup Water Trail Subcommittee, co-chair of the Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, and co-founder and board member of the International Wildlife Refuge Alliance.

Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator, at the "Paddle by Your Refuge" event on the Detroit River.

Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator, at the “Paddle by Your Refuge” event on the Detroit River.


What made you decide to be an extension educator?

Prior to coming to Michigan Sea Grant, I worked for a utility company that routinely partnered with MSG on habitat restoration and other environmental projects in southeast Michigan. As a project partner, I was able to see firsthand how impactful the Sea Grant extension educators can be. When the position opened up I jumped at the chance to transition to extension.

Do you have any advice for students who might want to pursue a career with an environmental focus?

Find someone who works in the area you are interested in and see if you can job shadow them. The job is often different than what you envision. Do it early so you can change focus if it’s not what you expected. When I was in my last semester of community college, I did an internship as a state park ranger because I thought that’s what I wanted to do. I found out that rangers don’t spend all of their time outdoors, enjoying the natural resources that they are working to protect. They sometimes have to do reports, clean bathrooms and other facilities, repair equipment and other administrative tasks. I was still interested but it was good to learn more about what I’d be getting into if I pursued that career path.

If you could get people to follow just one piece of conservation advice what would it be?

Get involved! There are so many grassroots environmental organizations that rely on volunteers to accomplish their missions. Find one that speaks to your environmental passion, roll up your sleeves and make a difference.

Sea Grant is a federal-state partnership that turns research into action by supporting science-based, environmentally sustainable practices that ensure coastal communities remain engines of economic growth in a rapidly changing world. There are 33 programs across the country working to help build and grow innovative businesses along America’s oceans and Great Lakes, protect against environmental destruction and natural disasters, and train the next generation of leaders.

Established in 1969, Michigan Sea Grant, is a collaboration between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. We offer research, education and community outreach on topics such as aquatic invasive species, coastal development, commercial and sports fishing, and environmental stewardship for youth. 

2016 Summer Discovery Cruises Registration

Event Date: 5/9/2016
End Date: 8/31/2016

Patrons standing on the bow of the R/V Clinton, enjoying a Summer Discovery Cruise on Lake St. Clair

Patrons standing on the bow of the R/V Clinton, enjoying a cruise on Lake St. Clair.

Do you want to learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes? If so, you will want to learn more about our 2016 Summer Discovery Cruises season!

For the 15th summer, Michigan Sea Grant Extension will provide Michiganders (and visitors to Michigan) with the opportunity to learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes. Cruises depart from Lake Erie Metropark, with cruises on the lower Detroit River and Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair Metropark, cruising Lake St. Clair.

The 2016 season offers more than 20 educational cruises around themes such as Fisheries, Wildlife, Wetlands, Shipwrecks, Lighthouses, Weather, Shipping and more. Cruises for educators wanting to enhance the use of Great Lakes content in their teaching are also provided, with stipends.

Some of the exciting cruises for the 2016 season include:

  • Lake St. Clair Fisheries: This is not a fishing cruise, but it definitely is a “fishy” cruise! Learn first-hand about the fish that are found in Lake St. Clair, many of which are available for hands-on examination during the cruise. We will be joined by a Michigan DNR Fisheries Biologist and rendezvous with their research vessel while out on the lake to observe fish tagging, measuring and other research operations.
  • Warfare on the Waterfront: The War of 1812, World War II, and even the American Civil War have all shaped the Detroit River and western Lake Erie. Long after the end of hostilities, remnants of this military presence can still be found. Join an Interpreter for an in-depth look at these conflicts, their sites and stories, and see how they impacted the region and the world.
  • Shipwreck at Sugar: Just under the waves off a crumbling Sugar Island dock lie the remains of a vessel sank in 1945. Travel with our resident historian to the wreck site to learn about the S.S. Seabreeze, the story of how it got there and the circumstances surrounding its mysterious sinking.
  • Birds, Boats & Booze (4 hour history cruise): Many things brought people to the St. Clair River Delta Flats area. The abundant wetlands brought duck hunters and fishing. Wood boats and passenger steamers brought tourism and recreation, and Prohibition brought rumrunners and speakeasies to the region. Spend a little more time in “the flats” with us as we cruise farther up the South Channel and share a little of the past including stories of the big hotels, Tashmoo Park, Chris Craft boat building and more.
  • Great Lakes Science for Kids: Learn about the ecology of Lake St. Clair or Lake Erie, by using the tools a Great Lakes Scientist uses to determine water quality by studying the plants and animals of the lakes. Try your hand at using a plankton net, bottom dredge, water testing kit, underwater camera, and binoculars to discover the exciting nature of the lake and become a Great Lakes Scientist!

To learn about the Great Lakes by being on the Great Lakes, visit the Summer Discovery Cruises web site at for complete cruise descriptions, locations, dates and times, as well as directions on how to register for your 2016 Summer Discovery Cruises. Don’t miss the boat!

Lake St. Clair Fisheries Workshop, Harrison Twp

Event Date: 4/14/2016

The fisheries workshop offers current research and information related to the status of the Lake St. Clair fishery. Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension, in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, will be hosting an evening regional workshop dedicated to Lake St. Clair.

The workshop is open to the public, and will provide valuable information for anglers, charter captains, resource professionals, and other community members interested in attending.

Date: Thursday, April 14th
Time: 6:00 — 9:00 p.m.
Location: Sportsmen’s Direct, 38989 Jefferson Ave, Harrison Charter Township, MI 48045
Workshop Registration: Workshop is no cost to participants, however pre-registration is requested (see contacts below), but walk-in participation is always welcomed!

The workshop will include five presentations:

  • Invasive species of the Huron-Erie Corridor
    Dr. Rochelle Sturtevant, Great Lakes Regional Sea Grant Extension Educator, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL)
  • Ongoing efforts of Macomb County to improve access to Lake St. Clair
    Gerard Santoro, Macomb County Program Manager – Land and Water Resources Group
  • Effects of fishing on bass: Lessons from Michigan and Connecticut
    Jan-Michael Hessenauer, Fisheries Research Biologist, MIDNR Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station
  • Lake St. Clair Fishery Status Update
    Mike Thomas and Todd Wills, Fisheries Research Biologists from the MIDNR Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station
  • Are there really too many muskie in Lake St. Clair?
    Mike Thomas and Todd Wills, Fisheries Research Biologists from the MIDNR Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station

To register, please contact:
Maureen Prisbe
MSU Extension – Macomb County Office
(586) 469-6440

Program information or questions, contact:
Justin Selden
Michigan Sea Grant
(586) 469-7139

Position Opening: Seasonal Educator

Through: Michigan State University Extension

Location: Lake Erie Metropark, Lake St. Clair Metropark

Contact: Steve Stewart
Michigan Sea Grant Extension
21885 Dunham Road, Suite 12
Clinton Township, MI 48036
Phone: (586) 469‐7431
Fax: (586) 469‐6948

Closing Date: Until filled.

This is an experiential education position for an individual to work with the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP) and Summer Discovery Cruises (SDC) in Southeast Michigan. The individual will work under the supervision of the Senior District Extension Sea Grant Educator. Primary responsibility will be vessel–based education during the Spring and Fall Great Lakes Education Program season, as well as our Summer Discovery Cruise season.

Responsible with other GLEP/SDC staff for conducting varied hands‐on learning activities aboard the schoolship. Work week for GLEP is Monday–Friday. Work week for SDC is five days, including weekends. Work may also include general duties supplemental to GLEP/SDC, such as greeting the public, maintenance, exhibit preparation assistance, and other duties assigned. Duties may also include some general youth education program work.

Bachelor’s Degree in biology, education or related field required. Must have good communication and presentation skills. Aquatic science or natural history background desired. Previous interpretive work or fieldwork preferred. Boating experience preferred. Must love working outdoors.

$11.22 per hour, benefits are not included.

Lessons Learned: Fish Spawning Reef Restoration

Event Date: 3/9/2016

unnamedMany Great Lakes fish species, including lake sturgeon, walleye, white fish and cisco, migrate to rocky areas to deposit and fertilize their eggs. However, in many systems spawning habitat has been degraded due to sedimentation, destroyed during the construction of shipping channels, or made inaccessible by barriers. Constructed spawning reefs – essentially beds of loose rock placed on a river or lake bottom – is one method of restoring lost fish habitat. In 2001, a diverse team came together to test and study strategies for creating fish spawning reefs in the St. Clair–Detroit River System. By applying an adaptive management process through a series of reef restoration projects, the team has improved its strategies for designing, building and monitoring projects and for facilitating an effective planning process. Key lessons have been summarized in a recent practitioner-oriented report.

This webinar will share lessons learned about adaptive management, stakeholder engagement, reef design and project monitoring. Members of the reef restoration team will discuss their distinct roles and share both challenges and strategies for achieving desired restoration outcomes. This webinar is co-sponsored by two reef project funders, the NOAA Restoration Center and Sustain Our Great Lakes, and representatives from these organizations will be available for questions.

Presenters will include:

  • Jennifer Read, PhD
    Director, University of Michigan Water Center
  • Mary Bohling
    Extension Educator, Michigan Sea Grant
  • Rachel Echtinaw, PE
    Civil Engineer, SmithGroupJJR
  • James Boase
    Fisheries Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The webinar will begin at 11 AM Eastern Time/10 AM Central Time and last for approximately 1 hour, with opportunities for questions and discussion.

Participants can register by clicking here.

A recording of the webinar will be available for viewing at following the conclusion of the live program.

Todd Hogrefe, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
(612) 564-7286

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a bi-national, public-private partnership that sustains, restores and protects fish, wildlife and habitat in the Great Lakes basin by leveraging funding, building conservation capacity, and focusing partners and resources toward key ecological issues.

St. Clair – Detroit River System Initiative Annual Meeting

Event Date: 2/11/2016

Establishing Priority Indicators for Coordinated Action 2016-2023

February 11, 2016

Wayne County Community College, Downriver Campus
21000 Northline Road
Taylor, Michigan

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST. Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.

Registration in now open for the 2016 SCDRS Annual Meeting! Registration will be open until COB February 5. The fee this year is $45.

Agenda topics include:

  • Steering, Science & Monitoring and Communications Committee updates
  • Themed updates (Fisheries, Habitat, AIS, AOCs, Nutrients and Societal Satisfaction)
  • Two rounds of breakout sessions on draft SCDRS Indicators to track progress in the SCDRS

A block of rooms are on hold for Feb 10–11 for $85 under the St. Clair – Detroit River System Initiative at the Comfort Suites.

Thank you to this year’s sponsors:  ECT, Inc., DTE Energy, and SmithGroupJJR!  If your organization is interested in being a sponsor of the SCDRS Initiative, please contact Mary Bohling.

Additional questions?

Michelle Selzer
SCDRS Communication Subcommittee Chair
Lake Erie Coordinator
Michigan Office of the Great Lakes
(517) 284-5050